Academy on Human Rights

AUWCL’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Hosts Annual Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights

June 18, 2018

American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law hosted the annual Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law May 29-June 15, welcoming 125 participants from over 10 different countries.

 The three-week, D.C.-based summer program works to provide scholars, practitioners, and students with the unique opportunity to learn and interact with judges of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, as well as special rapporteurs and committee members of United Nations, members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, experts from prominent NGO’s, and professors from across the globe. The Academy is co-directed by Claudia Martin and Diego Rodriguez-Pinzon.

“Our Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is a unique opportunity to expand their knowledge in specialized topics all while making connections with other students, educators, activists and specialists in human rights,” according to Martin and Rodriguez-Pinzon. “We hope that the classes offered, as well as the Human Rights Month events that we produce, can help spark important conversations and inspire the next generation of human rights leaders.”

Academy on Human Rights

The group of 125 participants included 72 certificate and diploma students and 53 LL.M. and JD students. Out of those 53 students, 33 were AUWCL students enrolled in the LL.M. in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, which is also offered as a Spanish degree, LL.M. en Derechos Humanos y Derecho Humanitario. Twenty-two of the 33 LL.M. students are enrolled the Spanish LL.M. program; 11 are enrolled in the English program.  

Countries represented at this year’s program included Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, the United States and Puerto Rico.

Students attended intensive courses during the day while using their free time to go on site visits to the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and various historical sites throughout Washington D.C.

Throughout the program, the Academy produces its annual Human Rights Month, which includes screenings of human rights documentaries in both English and Spanish and a number of Human Rights Month panels, some co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law. Panel topics include the Colombia peace process, human rights and human mobility, business and human rights, and violence against women.


Over 40 professors and judges came from around the world to attend the program, including Professor Antonio Cancado Trindade, judge of the International Court of Justice; Laurence Burgorgue-Larson, judge of the Constitutional Court of Andorra; and Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot, judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Other attendees included Catalina Botero, former Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with the Organization of American States, and Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women for the United Nations. AUWCL faculty participating in the program included Professors Robert Goldman, and Juan Mendez, as well as Dean Emeritus Claudio Grossman.

“These professors not only provide our students with crucial knowledge pertaining to their areas of specialization, but also foster irreplaceable networking opportunities for the students who attend the program,” Martin said.

The International Jurist recently recognized AUWCL as one of 25 law schools across the nation to offer the best experience for lawyers from outside the U.S, highlighting the work of the Academy on Human Rights and calling AUWCL "a powerhouse" in the human rights field.